Braavos is comprised of a hundred islands linked together by small stone bridges spanning the many canals throughout the city. Firewood is brought in by barge, while pines on the islands surrounding the city are left to act as windbreaks to protect the harbors, and are illegal to cut down.
There is a stretch of land to the south claimed by Braavos, the Braavosian Coastland. The western coast of Lorath Bay is also under Braavosi control. The Braavosi fleets dominate the seas northwest of Essos, protected by the warlords belonging to the Sealord.
By and large, Braavosi are a kind people, great lovers of song. Instead of traveling by horse, the Braavosi use boats.
Braavos is renowned worldwide for its courtesans. Every courtesan has her own barge and servants to work them. Additionally, pugnacious bravos fill the city, frequently dueling to display their skill. Visibly wearing a sword at night means that you can be challenged to a fight, but the bravos do not bother anyone who does not wear a sword. Bravos are known to kill each other in the name of courtesans.
Braavosi culture has created a unique form of sword fighting, the water dance. The style is a refined form of fencing in which the practitioner stands sideways and wields a slender blade. The greatest of the bravos call themselves water dancers, and they always duel at night. They take their name from the custom of dueling on the Moon Pool, near the Sealord's Palace.
Instead of making farces, Braavosi mummers perform plays of written stories. Braavosi mummers can be found at such playhouses as the Ship, the Gate, the Blue Lantern, and the Dome.
The anniversary of the Uncloaking is celebrated annually. The masked feasts last for ten days, and culminate in the midnight of the tenth day, when the Titan roars and all of the celebrants remove their masks at the same time.
Braavos is the wealthiest and most powerful of the Free Cities, in part due to the wealth and influence of the Iron Bank. The Iron Bank lends money to foreign nations, including the Seven Kingdoms. Braavosi coins are square and made from iron.
During the years when Braavos was as of yet undiscovered, the city prospered. The Braavosi discovered a sea snail similar to those that could be found at Tyrosh, and whose dyes had made the city famous. At first, Braavos began to trade with Ib, and later the Seven Kingdoms.
Braavos has a seafaring trade culture. Much of the city's early wealth came from the brackish waters of the lagoon, though in the modern day Braavosi ships sail to many distant lands and bring their trade and wealth back home. One hears of purple sails as far away as Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea. In the present, Braavos is one of the greatest ports of the world, where all but slavers are allowed to dock. Even ships from Qarth and the Summer Isles come to Braavos to trade.
Important Sites Edit
- The Titan of Braavos is a massive stone and bronze fortress in the shape of a giant man, which guards the entrance into the lagoon where the Free City of Braavos is located. It is the primary line of defense for Braavos.
- The Iron Bank is one of the wealthiest and most famous banks in the known world, with a fearsome reputation when it comes to collecting its debts. The Seven Kingdoms currently owe the institution quite a prodigious sum.
- The House of Black and White is the temple of the Many-Faced God and the home of the Faceless Men.
The ruler of the city is the Sealord, who lives in the Sealord's Palace in the northeast of the city. Instead of hereditary succession, the Sealord is chosen by Braavosi magisters and keyholders through a convoluted process, and he serves for life. The selection of his successor can be highly contested and can resort to violence. The Sealord's personal guard is commanded by the First Sword of Braavos. The exact position of the Third Sword is not known.
The previous Sealord, has passed away - the city currently awaits the election of its next.
Unlike the other Free Cities, Braavos was never part of the Valyrian Freehold. The youngest of these cities, Braavos was founded by escaped slaves, fleeing the grasp of the Freehold. The founders of Braavos risked their lives for freedom, and swore a vow that no one in their city would ever be a slave, thrall, or bondsman. This vow became the First Law of Braavos, and is engraved on the arch spanning the Long Canal.
The city's exact founding date is unknown. The existence of the city was a secret for a century. While Maester Yandel states that Sealord Uthero Zalyne had sent forth his ships to every corner of the world in order to proclaim the existence and location of Braavos during the Uncloaking (or Unmasking) of Uthero at the 111th festival celebrating the city's founding, the city's location remained hidden for another few centuries.
Century of Blood Edit
During the Century of Blood following the Doom of Valyria, Volantis attempted to take control of Valyria's daughters. The Volantenes managed to take control over Myr and Lys, but when they attempted to take Tyrosh they met with resistance. In the rebellion against Volantis, the Sealord of Braavos sent a hundred warships to the aid of Lys.
Recent History Edit
The city of Braavos has had a long and violent history with its neighbour to the south, the city of Pentos. There have been five Braavos-Pentoshi wars, three of which have seen Braavos emerge victorious.